Here’s what I look for in a good, cheap wine: Yes, of course it must be cheap, but more than that it must be good, that is, not just moderately tasty, but having something interesting to it too—something of greater dimension than mere soda pop. Like this Gruner Veltliner, from Kremstal, Austria winery Weingut & Gastehaus Berger. Gruner Veltliner (say it: groo-ner felt-leaner) has been red-hot the last few years, treasured for its unusual crisp green elements, and this is a great entry-level one from an important producer. (Berger has lots of higher-end Gruner Veltliners too, if you fall in love.)
Another reason to like this affordable wine: It’s got a lot going on. Honeydew, mint and stone, a little vegetal beet and a lot of green apple, it’s the perfect wine to go with your first spring farmer’s market haul—roast some baby beets, slice up some radishes and little Japanese turnips, maybe add poached asparagus, add butter and salt and perhaps a little garlic aioli for dipping your vegetables, and pour a glass. And another, and another—at $10.99 for a liter, a pop-top liter, no less, capped with a beer-like crown-top, you can have the neighbors over for a celebration over salad. Is it possible to have a celebration over salad? Well, of course that’s another question entirely, but if you do want to celebrate over lots of crisp green veggies, this is my pick.
Available: Surdyk’s, 303 Hennepin Ave. E, Mpls., 612-379-3232, surdyks.com